Every article, post, and doctor tells you not to compare babies. Of course, it’s inevitable as conversations constantly find their way back to whose baby is doing what. Everything from rolling over to starting solids and walking is analyzed to figure out if your baby is behind.
Developmental milestones are there to both assure and terrify us despite the afterthought that all babies develop at their own rate.
With twins it is nigh impossible to avoid making comparisons, and especially with identical twins. I have yet to meet parents who say that their twins share an exact personality. Beyond gender differences, one twin may favour musical instruments while the other loves to kick balls. One may love to read, the other to build. Sure, the DNA is the same but their personality makes them special.
It’s extra hard to avoid making comparisons when one twin is so far behind the other.
Today we were back at Sunnybrook for a follow-up appointment from our NICU stay. There, they told me Raegan was perfect; meeting and exceeding her developmental milestones. Then, there was Ella.
Every time we have a doctor’s appointment, I want to preempt the discussion by saying, “Now, you should know that Ella is super giggly and loves being flown through the air. She babbles and loves to cuddle.” I want to say this because doctors, well, are doctors. They see everything that is wrong.
Today, our doctor said simply that I must know Ella is behind comparatively to her sister. And of course I do. I’m with them all day. I see Raegan getting ready to crawl and watch as she devours food sitting perfectly in her booster chair. And I see Ella, laying in one spot, batting at her toys with a closed fist.
But, I don’t want my girls to just be milestones. I want their personalities to shine. I want people to see that sometimes Raegan is crabby but that she smiles with giant dimples. And I don’t want you to see Ella as behind, but rather as a chubby cheeked six month old who giggles when you take her out of her sleeper because it tickles.
I know the comparisons will always be there. It’s inevitable with twins. I know that I will continue to compare them both in my own mind and again for the doctors. Still, it doesn’t make it easier to see the differences, to suspect what’s coming.
But I know, that comparatively or not, our girls are pretty darn cute.
Just because they are at different stages, does not mean anything! Alexis (who had much more of a difficult NICU stay) has always been much further ahead of Maja. I totally get what you are saying with respect to wanting to share all of the positives that Ella is doing. I felt the same way with Maja. Continue to have hope! Ella WILL get there! It may take her a bit longer, but who cares? Maja only starting to sit up independently a few months ago and only within the past two weeks has she started to pull herself up to stand and take some steps; whereas, Alexis is walking. It is our natural parental instinct (especially with twins) to compare; however, it will only leave you feeling sad for Ella. Focus on the remarkable changes and progress that she is showing and celebrate those victories! Hey, she has had amazing Sick Kids follow up appointments- that’s certainly grounds for celebration! Hang in there Mama! You and Jason are amazing parents!
Ha! Never thought of that before!
I really feel that doctors need a crash course in sensitivity. I’ve had to console too many parents who have basically been told they are bad parents or made to feel like their child was just a diagnosis. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” -Dr. Seuss